Why Did Henry Close Down The Monasteries Essay

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or who could have thought that he had had any power thereto ? 375 Of the earlier career of Thomas Marshall little is known except that he, like the majority of his order in England, who were selected by their superiors for a university course, was sent to Oxford, where he resided for several years, and passed through the schools with credit to himself and his order. These words did this false friend carry away in his traitorous breast, to make them known in due season to the advisers of the king. The abbat is led to the same tribunal which had condemned both Fisher and More, and there received the like sentence of death; yea, his punishment was the more cruel than theirs, for in his case no part of the sentence was remitted. In reply to the third question, this doctor " sayeth that con- cerning the marriage of queen Anne this examinant remembers he hath heard the said abbat say that the reason why the king's highness did forsake the bishop of Rome was to the intent that his majesty might be divorced from the lady dowager and wed queen Anne, and therefore his grace refused to take the bishop of Rome for the supreme head of the Church, and made himself the supreme head."f Another of the witnesses against the lord abbot of Colchester was a cleric, John Seyn, who deposed that when he had informed him of his neighbour, the abbot of St. The marginal notes, copied from the original document, indicate the chief points on which the examination turned. Hast thou not heard how the blind eateth many a fly ? At Colchester, as elsewhere in the country at this period, there were to be found some only too anxious to win favour to themselves by carrying reports of the doings and sayings of new abbot took his seat in the House of Lords. The writers of our annals mention many by name, but there were many more whose names they could not ascertain, whose number is known to God alone, for whose cause they died. He had heard the rumours about the destruction of the two abbeys of St. Osyth's, and, writing to Crumwell, he begs they may con- tinue, " not, as they be, religious ; but that the king's majesty of his goodness to translate them into colleges. John's standeth in his grace's own town at Colchester, wherein dwell many poor people, who have daily relief of the house. The circumstances attending abbot Marshall's arrest are unknown, but by the beginning of November, 1539, he was in the Tower. The date of abbot Whiting's treason is given as " 4* August a 27 " (i 535) ; and abbot Cook's as "1 March anno. Outbreak of the rising — Causes of popular discontent — The resistance at Louth — People rose in defence of the faith — Feeling against Crumwell and some of the bishops — Statute of uses — Story of the rising — Destruction of the registrar's books in Louth — Murder of the bishop of Lincoln's chancellor — The " articles " of popular discontent — Henry's answer to the demands — Royal anxiety as to the result and the effect of the news in foreign countries — Collapse of the movement — Part taken by the monks. Is this the mark that blind men trust to hit perchance ? Benedict's or Gloucester Hall, the largest of the three establishments which the Benedictines pos- sessed in Oxford, and to which the younger religious of most of the English abbeys were sent to pursue their higher studies.* Very shortly after abbot Marshall's election his troubles commenced. But why should I call him the third, and try to enumerate the English martyrs of that time, who are past counting ? This valuable collection for the lives of Fisher and More comprises contemporary and sub- contemporary documents of undoubted authenticity and importance. 379 reports were spread as to the approaching dissolu- tion of St. Sir Thomas Audley, the chancellor, endeavoured to avert what he thought would be an evil thing for the county. The cause I move this is, first, I consider that St. 365 that he would have consented or concealed any treason against the king's majesty ? 23, 1534, and on March 30th of this same year the The Three Benedictine Abbots. For he had greatly loved them; and as he had honoured them when living, so now that they had so gladly suffered death for the Church's unity, he began to reverence and venerate them, and often and much did he utter to that effect, and made his friends partakers of his grief which the late events had caused him. Thereon the abbat, who could not be silent on such a theme, spoke, indeed, in their praise, but with moderation and sparingly, adding, at last, that he marvelled what cause of complaint the king could have found in men so virtuous and learned, and the greatest ornaments of Church and State, as to deem them unworthy of longer life, and to condemn them to a most cruel death. He had not, he said, to his knowledge seen or known abbot Thomas before his election, although he had divers times repaired to the abbey before that time. The story of his sudden arrest and instant execution, as told by the Colchester historian, looks improbable.f Even if true, the abbot's journey to London, his examinations, his imprisonment in the Tower, % and the various measures taken with his servants^ must have quite prepared him for the fate awaiting those who resisted the will of Henry. The sales include certain lands of attainted persons, such as the countess of Salisbury, Sir Stephen Hammerton, etc. Popular sympathy with the insurgents — Severe measures taken by Henry — Causes of the Yorkshire discontent — Aske's declara- tion and examinations — Story of the rising — Religious re- placed in their houses — Henry's instructions to Norfolk — His " politic device " — Insurgent envoys to the king — Assembly at Pomfret — The settlement at Doncaster. This had been enough to have made this traitor a true man if there had been any grace in him." The Three Benedictine Abbots. Excelling many of the abbats of his day in devo- tion, piety, and learning, the sad fate of the cardinal (Fisher) and the execution of Sir Thomas More oppressed him wiih grief and bitterness. There came at length a traitorous guest, a violator of the sacred rights of hospitality, who by his words incited the abbat to talk about the execution of the cardinal and More, hoping to entrap him in his speech. — Robert Rowse.* The evidence of Thomas Nuthake, a "physition," of Colchester, is to the like effect. of such learning as ye learned at Oxenford when ye were young. I will advise you to conform yourself as a true subject, or else you shall hinder your brethren and also yourself."* Nothing more is known of abbot Marshall's last days but the fact of his execution on December 1st, 1539. This amount apparently he subsequently paid as he is credited with ^"11,137 us. in discharge of what was owing for the lands of Fountains, together with those of the two Benedictine nunneries of Swine and Nunkeling.j * See Appendix. One of the prisoners, asked " of whom the said traitors had relief in money, victuals, or harness," replied that "he heard say that the said traitors had money of the abbots of Barling and Bardney."* Another, speaking of the Yorkshire rising, declared that letters were received from Lincolnshire speak- ing " of the great present of the abbot of Bar- lings with his comfortable words, that any man counted themselves half ashamed to be so far behind them."f In the official notes as to the evidence it is said : — " The abbot of Barlings with divers of his canons or monks be accused by Edward Dymmoke, Thomas Dymmoke, Esquires, Robert Dighton, and George Staines, gentlemen, saying : that the said abbot and his monks or canons were among the commons in harness and brought them victuals and said unto them they should lack none such as they had, and, further, they say that the said abbot did divers times move them to go forward." To this is appended the note : — " Mem. He says that when they were prisoners in Lincoln gaol the cellarer was admitted to bail by Sir William Parr in order that he might collect the rents due to the abbey, and of these Sir William got £20. % The Kirksted monks acknowledged their part in the rising when questioned. The disposition of the people between Lincoln and London was said to be as bad as possible." A servant of Sir William Hussey reported, that " in every place by the way as his master and he came, he hath heard as well old people as young pray God speed the rebellious persons in Lincolnshire, and wish themselves with them, saying that if they came that way that they shall lack nothing that they can help them unto. 85 between Stamford and London) that the commons of those parts were in one mind with ' the norther- ners,' and wished they had come forward an end, for then they should have had more to take their parts." And also when in London, a shopman said to him : " Because you, a northern man you shall pay but sixpence for your shoes, for ye have done very well of late, and would to God you had come an end, for we were in the same mind that you were."* But the inquisitorial severity of the king and his advisers visited with the extremity of punish- ment even the slightest approval of the popular movement. " The ninth of October," writes Stowe, " a priest and a butcher were hanged at Windsor, by martial law, for words spoken in the behalf of the Lincolnshire men. Wriothesley, however, gives the date " 9th October." The nephew of the imperial ambassador (Calendar, xi., 714) refers to the fact, but calls the man " a shoemaker." 86 Henry VIII. suppression in Cheshire, which but for the prompt action of Sir Piers Dutton, the sheriff, might have proved serious. " Which letter came to me about 9 o'clock in the night upon Sunday last (October 8th), and about two o'clock in the same night I came thither with * Exch. And it was thought if the matter had not been quickly handled it would have grown to further inconvenience, to what danger God knoweth. 89 against us and our realm, our pleasure and com- mandment is, that if this shall fully appear to you to be true that then you shall immediately upon the sight hereof without any manner further delay cause them to be hanged as most arrant traitors in such sundry places as you shall think requisite, for the terrible example of all others hereafter. The most formidable opposition which Henry ex- perienced at this time was without doubt the popular movement known as the " pilgrimage of grace." In * Ormerod's " Cheshire," i., p. In Yorkshire, with the archdeaconry of Richmond and the bishopric of Durham, in- cluding the cells of larger monasteries some 47 houses of men and 23 convents of women came within the pecuniary limit for dissolution, and a yearly income of ^4,384 8s. had been trans- ferred from the district to the king's purse.* By the feast of St. " And in the same letter the said Aske rehearsed how the said commons were gnawn in the * Exch. And surely, if he con- tinue in favour and presence with your grace it will danger the occasion of new commotions which will be very dangerous to your grace's person ; for as far as the said Aske can perceive there is no earthly man so evil believed as the said lord Crumwell is with the commoners. And divers reasons thereof (were) made, whereof he delivered one to the archbishop of York in Latin, containing a whole sheet of paper or more .... 99 -never king of England since the faith came within the same realm claimed any such authority. Canterbury was the first that ever was archbishop of that see that had not his pall from a spiritual man or from the see of Rome. And also " because they varied from the old usages and sermons of the Church and because they preached contrary to the same, therefore they were bruited so to be schismatics." f As Aske the leader thought, so thought the rest who followed him. The royal supremacy was looked upon as founded only on Henry's whim and as a pretension without precedent in history, while the renunciation of papal authority was held to be subversive of the principle of unity in the Christian Church, and the first step towards diversity of doctrine and practice. A second document, that of Tarent, although having twenty signatures, is worthless, as all are written in the same hand.* Of the whole number of convents, therefore, only three signed surrenders exist. " I must therefore," he writes, "now in this my necessity most humbly beseech your lordship to pardon me for that my * Dixon, i., p. The suspension of the jurisdiction which had been exercised by the abbey over the town of Glastonbury and its dependencies had caused the gravest inconvenience. He was still as solicitous about the smallest details of his care as if the glorious abbey were to last in cevum. That is to say, he paid ^10 of the said £\o to the said abbot in the little parlour upon the right hand within the great hall, the Friday after New Year's Day before the said abbot was attainted. "And at that time the abbot asked of the said master Lyte whether he would set up the said abbot's arms in his new buildings that he had made. 339 in gold for the short telling, as also he would not, by his will, have it seen at that time."* Thus too almost the last glimpse afforded of the last abbot of Glastonbury in his time-honoured home shows him in friendly converse with his near neigh- bour, lord Stourton : the head of an ancient race which popular tradition had justly linked for centuries with the Benedictine order, and which even in the darkest days of modern English Catholicity proved itself a firm and hereditary friend. 345 other parcels of plate, which the abbot had hid secretly from all such commissioners as have been there in times past; and as yet he knoweth not that we have found the same ; whereby we think that he thought to make his hand by his untruth to his king's majesty. At least Marillac, the French ambassador, who shows that he was always well informed on public matters, writes to his master that this is to be done. What happened in the case of Whiting at Wells, and with Cook Reading, was a ghastly mockery of justice, enacted merely to cover the illegal and iniquitous proceedings which had condemned them untried. It is probable that the following passage, hitherto apparently unnoticed, from an unknown but contemporary writer, represents much more accurately the real facts of the case, than the pseudo-dramatic presentment of the editor of Sander : — " The death of the abbot of Glastonbury, whose name was * Wolsey died in the end of fright. Brewer writes : " His despondency and waning health anticipated the sword of the execu- tioner, and disappointed the malice of his enemies " (Introd. Pollard if you be to me a companion, I pray you wash with me and sit down ; but if you be my keeper and I your prisoner, tell me plainly, that I may prepare my mind to go to another room better fitting my fortunes. And upon a bon voyage would call him pope as long as he lived."* * Ibid. What other thing should the abbat pray for here (as methinketh), but even first and foremost for the high dishonouring of Almighty God, for the confusion of our most dread sovereign lord, king Henry VIII., with his royal successors, and also for the utter destruction of this most noble realm of Eng- land. Lord Crumwell himself, to take but one more instance, paid but £"1,446 10s. of service to the commonwealth or particular district, which had hitherto characterized its tenure. During centuries of undisturbed possession the monasteries of England * John Raynes was a well-known bookseller of the day in St. 2d., or more than ^2,100 in the present value of money. Even if it be allowed that some of the venerated relics had little title in fact to be what they claimed, still by far the greater number had a history which alone should have shielded them from positive disrespect, whilst many of them were un- doubtedly the mortal remains of men and women whose names were written in no less honour on the pages of English history than on the diptychs of the Church. Froude's language, " the peculiar treasures of the great abbeys and cathedrals — the mortal remains of the holy men in whose memories they had been founded, who by martyr's deaths, or lives of superhuman loftiness, had earned the veneration of later ages. Here, however, the relics, which had been venerated for many generations, were apparently treated with special indignity, and torn from the sheltered tomb were committed to the flames. From the descriptions quoted above it is evident that the prize was worth having. wrought upon with gold wire," says the account from which Stowe derived his information. from which has come the ruin of the abbeys and the spoiling of every church in which there was anything to take," he then adds : " St. Mackarel, the abbot of Barlings, was pre- sent in full armour." The depositions of witnesses after the insurrection give a different picture. And said further, that the said abbot was so sorrowful that he could not, in a great while after their departure from his house, say any part of his divine service for weeping."* In a subsequent examination on March 23rd, 1537, before, Legh, Layton and Ap Rice, abbot Mackarel made certain admissions about the way in which he viewed the work of suppression. And there- upon the said brethren agreed thereto.' Upon this, concludes the abbot, I sent plate worth ^100 and some of the best vestments to one ' Thomas Bruer.' "* * B. "f Some other witnesses confessed having seen them in the ranks, and one " heard say that the said traitors " had help from the abbey. The other three and thirty, including the abbot of Kirksted and three of his monks, six monks of Bardney, four canons of Barlings, and seven secular priests, were ordered for immediate execution. "Alarming reports came in of the temper of the north-midland and eastern counties. Hall places this circumstance in the Yorkshire rising. And when they had packed up such jewels and stuff as they had there, and thought upon the morrow after to depart thence, the abbot gathered a great company together to the number of two or three hundred persons, so that the said commissioners were in fear of their lives, and were fain to take (to) a tower there, and thereupon send a letter to me ascertaining me what danger they were in, and desired me to come and assist them or else they were never like to come thence. And some of them took to poles and the waters, and it was so dark that I could not find them. The final fate of the abbot and his companions, like that of so many others at this time, remains un- certain, but no record appears of their pardon. As in Lincolnshire, so in the more northerly parts the effect of the late act of suppression had been patent to all. The causes which led to the armed pro- test were fully and boldly declared by the leader of the movement, Robert Aske, when before Pomfret castle he wrote to the lords who held it urging them to deliver up their charge and join the popular move- ment. And their especial great grudge is against the lord Crumwell, being reputed the destroyer of the commonwealth, as well amongst most part of the lords as all other the worshipful commons. Wherefore it was then thought good this statute to be annulled, or otherwise qualified for these reasons and many more."* When questioned about the statutes of the "royal supremacy'' and "that words should be treason," Aske replied, " that then all men much murmured at the same and said it could not stand with God's law. Lord Darcy's account of the method followed in parliament is of interest. The suppression of the abbeys was felt to be a blow to religion in those parts no less than a hardship to the poor, and a detriment to the country at large. Of the remaining five, one, the surrender of the great abbey of Shaftes- bury, a convent of fifty-six nuns, and at the dissolu- tion of which Crumwell himself assisted, is signed only by Elizabeth Zouche, the abbess. For this error of judgment, when some time later Crumwell had assured himself of the abbot's temper, he was forced to sue for pardon from both king and minister. Nicholas Fitz- james, a neighbour, wrote an urgent letter to Crum- well in support of the abbot's petition, and a month later the abbot himself ventured to present a griev- ance of another kind, affecting others besides his community. He awaited the end on his own ground and in the midst of his own people. John Watts, " late monk and chaplain to the abbot," said that John Lyte, the supposed debtor, had paid the money " in manner and form following. Peter's day at mid- summer, being a Sunday, in the garden of the said abbot at Glastonbury, whilst high mass was sing- ing," the debtor " made payment " of the rest. And very glad he was at that time that it was paid The Three Benedictine Abbots. Perhaps, too, Whiting's repute for blame- lessness of life, the discipline which he was known to maintain in his monastery and his great territorial influence may all have gone to point him out as an eminently proper subject to proceed against, as showing that where the crime of resistance to the king's will was concerned there could be no such ■* Hallam, " Constit. Besides this weight of gold and silver there was placed in the treasury " two collets of gold wherein standeth two coarse emeralds ; a cross of silver gilt, garnished with a great coarse emerald two ' balaces ' and two sapphires lacking a knob at one of the ends of the same cross ; a superaltar garnished with silver gilt and part gold called the great sapphire of Glastonbury ; a great piece of unicorn's horn, a piece of mother of pearl like a shell, eight branches of coral " (Monastic Treasures, Abbotsford Club, p. * The whole of this account is from the letter of the commis- sioners to Crumwell, in Wright, p. This is also to advertise your lord- ship that we have found a fair chalice of gold, and divers The Three Benedictine Abbots. Certain persons to be sent to the Tower for the further examination of the abbot of Glaston."* At this time it was supposed that parliament, which ought to have met on November 1 of this year, would be called upon to consider the charges against the abbot. Crumwell, acting as " prosecutor, judge and jury,"f had arranged for their execution before they left their prison. Councillors to give evidence against the abbot of Glaston, Richard Pollard, Lewis Forstell and Thomas Moyle. To see that the evidence be well sorted and the indict- ments well drawn against the said abbots and their accom- * According to Wriothesley's " Chronicle" they were arraigned in the " Counter." " Also in this month [November] the abbates of Glastonburie, Reding and Colchester were arrayned in the Counter." t Froude, Hist., iii., p. Has this gentleman seen the abbot of Colchester's indictment or perused his record of attainder ? Did not bishop Fisher and cardinal Pool, at least as this author represents them, acknowledge the king's supremacy at first ? Is the suggestion too horrible that Henry may have remembered Wolsey's end,* and have reflected that the death of the abbot in similar circumstances, before the last penalty was paid to his law, would render useless the pains taken to make a terrible example. The abbot seeing such civility mistrusted so much the more such courtesy was not void of some subtility and said unto him : f Mr. " He thought to shoot at the king's supremacy," as the contemporary witness has put it, and he was appar- ently charged with saying " that he would pray for the pope's holiness as long as he lived and would once a week say mass for him, trusting that by such good prayers the pope should rise again and have the king's highness with all the whole realm in sub- jection as he hath had in time past. Thus Crumwe H's nephew, Richard Williams, ap- parently paid under £"5,000 for Ramsey abbey, which was sold to him on March 4th, 1540, while the income of the monastery was returned at more than £"1,700 a year. Bedyll's house in Alders- gate Street, London, his woman had sent thither two of his servants . It is impossible even to guess at the worth of this portion of the king's booty. And in rare instances particu- lar inventories have been preserved of the precious church ornaments and plate found at some monas- tery and carried off to the royal treasury. The total value of this great "shrine" for the Blessed Sacrament is estimated by the royal officers at ^210 18s. 401 action, the dishonour shown to the remains of the saints by the royal agents must on all hands be condemned. They say it was given by a king of France." This jewel was no doubt the " Regal of France," of which subsequent mention will be made. Lingard thinks that the Bull " Cum Redemptor " of Paul III., dated Dec. Sander suggests that " the offence for which the most holy martyr was thus severely punished was nothing else but the wealth lavished upon his tomb and the necessity of finding some excuse for the pillage."* Even if this was not the case, the result was the same ; and the process of casting down the shrine, collecting the plate and jewels, described as taking place at Winchester, was repeated at Canterbury. Could I blazon thine arms sufficiently although I would say more than I have said ? Perhaps Moor is the same person mentioned by Stowe (ed. 582) : "The 1 of July (1540) a Welchman, a minstrel, was hanged and quartered for singing of songs which were interpreted to be prophecying against the king." To the same period may be attributed the following letter, although the " doctor Coke " mentioned is probably not the abbot of Reading, but Laurence Cook, the Carmelite prior of Doncaster, executed August 4th, 1540. First, that the abbots of Glastonbury, Read- ing, and Colchester were singled out for execution because of their loyalty to the holy see and their influence with their brethren ; secondly, that the venerable Hugh Cook was conspicuous for his de- votion to the vicar of Christ, and spite of Henry's favour, and spite of his threats, would never in his heart accept the king's supremacy, but week by week would offer the holy sacrifice on behalf of the bishop of Rome, and call him pope till his dying day. Abbot Cook, standing in the space before the gateway of his abbey, spoke to the people who, in great numbers, had gathered to wit- ness the strange spectacle of the execution of a lord abbot of the great and powerful monastery of Read- ing. f Of John Eynon the hostile witness writes that he not only denied the charge of treason, " but also stoutly and stubbornly with- stood it even to the utmost, evermore finding great fault with justice, and oftentimes casting his arms abroad, said : 'Alas, is this justice to destroy a man guiltless ? At the outset he had apparently considerable diffi- culty in obtaining possession of the temporalities of his abbey. trusting now by your especial favour to have restitution of my temporalities with all other things pertaining to the same. Had not the traitorous abbats picked out a pretty mad messenger of such a blind buzzard as thou art ? From such scanty evidence as may be gathered from these passages, one or two things are made clear. 369 Reading and two priests were brought out to suffer the death of traitors. that had courage enough to maintain his conscience and run the last extremity, being neither to be prevailed upon by bribery, terror or any dishonourable motives to come into a surrender, or subscribe to the king's supremacy ; on which account, being attainted of high treason, he suffered death." Thomas Marshall succeeded abbot Barton in June, 1533, and entered upon the cares of office at a time when religious life was becoming almost impossible. Pre-eminence of Glastonbury — High position of abbot Whiting — The oath of supremacy — Royal visitation of Glastonbury — Last glimpse of abbot Whiting at Glastonbury — Greater vi Contents. Legh and three others, on December 31st, 1539.^ Other evidence exists besides the absence of surrender deeds to show that the nuns of England resisted, in a heroic manner, the tempting * Eighth Rep. Whatever it was, it is no longer forthcoming, and, as far as can be ascertained, is lost or destroyed. Even before any condemnation the matter is taken as settled, and on October 24th, 1539,. It is hardly likely that, even if more loyal to Catherine's memory than there is any possible reason to suppose, he would stick at a point where More and Fisher could yield and would not give in to the succession. But before he came to Glastonbury, Home forsook, and joined himself unto his enemies.* * B. 62, which is a hitherto unnoticed account of the divorce written somewhere about VOL. And there was never seen in these parts so great an appearance as were here at this present time, and never better willing to serve the king."* Besides the care taken over the indictments, care had been evidently bestowed to make all secure on the spot. Sharon Turner it appears that, in looking over certain transcripts from the family collections of the house of Russell, he found the draft of a letter from Sir J. " I fear me," writes the authority so often quoted, " Hugh Cook was master Cook to a great many of that blackguard (I mean black monks), and taught them to dress such gross dishes as he was always wont to dress, that is to say, treason ; but let them all take heed."f At the time of the great northern rising, the abbey of Reading, together with those of Glastonbury and Colchester, is found on the list of contributors to the king's expenses in defeating the rebel forces. But I would now heartily wish that as many as be of that traitorous religion [i.e., order] that those abbats were of, at the next [assizes? 385 As in the case of Glastonbury and Reading, the abbot's imprisonment was the signal for commencing the pillage of church and monastery. In vain has search been made through books, rolls of legal pro- ceedings and detached papers of the date of their execution and subsequent years. 371) calculates the capital value of the income which came into the king's hands at ^"48,000,000. Those who reaped advantage from the work of desolation, from the overthrow of so many archi- tectural monuments and destruction of almost count- less works of art, from the seizure of lands bestowed upon the monks for purposes ecclesiastical and patriotic, were the "new men." To them good came from the hardships and misery inflicted upon hundreds of religious men and women and their re- tainers. An early writer states that had Henry lived a day or two longer he would have punished this minister. " At his first coming from Scotland of the insurrection of Yorkshire," runs the record of a subsequent examination, one Oswald Sisson, " perceiving then that many abbeys in Yorkshire would be surrendered, willed and procured the said Sir Ralph to ask of the king's majesty the prefer- ment of the monastery of Selby . Subse- quently, when he had got the monastery from Henry, he offered it to Sisson at a profit of £1 10 more than he had agreed to pay. Under cover of a pretended zeal to attack the vice of superstition, they were directed to take away the " shrine and bones with all the ornaments of the said shrine belonging and all other relics, silver, gold and all jewels belonging to the said shrine, and . doctor Crawford with a good appearance of honest personages besides." The scene presented by that varied crowd who through the darkness of an autumn night watched from among the shadows of the venerable cathedral, whilst Pollard and his barbarous crew hacked and tore down the shrine which for centuries had been the glory of Winchester, may be easily pictured to the imagination. This done," he adds, " we intend both at Hyde and Saint Mary's, to sweep away all the rotten bones, that be called relics ; which we may not omit lest it should be thought we care more for the treasure than for avoiding of the abomination of idolatry."! Probably no shrine in the world could compare with the riches of that of St. For three centuries treasures of every kind had been bestowed upon the tomb of the martyred arch- bishop from every part of the Christian world. "f So, too, madame de Montrenil, who saw it just prior to its destruction when on her return from Scotland to France, " marvelled at the great riches thereof, saying it to be innumerable, and that if she had not seen it, all the men in the world could never have made her believe it."j * See " Erasmus' Pilgrimages," by J. At eleven o'clock the following morning all except the abbot departed, " the cellarer and bursar horsed and * Froude, iii., p. Also James Mallet, doctor of law, late chaplain to queen Catherine, for like words was executed at Chelmsford." f Simultaneously with the movement in Lincolnshire the king experienced opposition to his schemes of * Chapter House Bk., A. And to the bishop of Wor- cester (Latimer), because it was said, either he was before abjured or else should have borne a faggot ior his preaching. Layton, also unsigned, is said to have been made on January 3rd, 1540, was already sup- pressed by Dr. And, for instance, in this particular case of Glaston- bury, that when insisting on its surrender the king was only requiring that to be given up into his hands which parliament had already conferred on him. On the 2nd October the inquisitors write again to their master to say that they have come to the know- ledge of "divers and sundry treasons" committed by abbot Whiting, " the certainty whereof shall appear unto your lordship in a book herein enclosed, with the accusers' names put to the same, which we think to be very high and rank treasons." The original letter, preserved in the Record Office, clearly shows by the creases in the soiled yellow paper that some small book or folded papers have been enclosed. It is certain that with; abbot Whiting in the Tower and Crumwell's com- missioners engaged in " dispatching " the monks "with as- much celerity" as possible, Glastonbury was already regarded as part of the royal posses- sions. f Poor Catherine had been at rest in her grave for four years, and her rival in the affections of Henry had died on the scaffold nearly as many years before Layton and his fellow-in- quisitors found the written book of arguments in Whiting's study, and "took it to be a great matter" against him. And yet though (Home) were both privy and plotter of his master's fall, yet did he sweare most intoler- ably he knew of no harm towards him, neither should any be done to him as long as he was in his company ; wishing besides that the devil might have him if he were otherwise than he told him. It is, how- ever, a free translation of Arundel MS., 151, No. He reached Wells on November 14, where there awaited him (Russell is warranty for the fact) " as worshipful a jury as was charged here these many years. Holyman, nor Roger London, John Rugg, nor Bachelor Giles, blind Moore, nor Master Manchester, the warden of the friars ; no, nor yet John Oynyon, the abbat's chief councillor, was able to prove with all their sophistical argu- ments that the mass was ordained for any such intent or purpose as the abbat of Reading used it." 362 Henry VIII. It would appear probable that abbot Cook did not refuse to take the oath of royal supremacy,* although there can be little doubt that in so doing he did not intend to separate himself from the tradi- tional teaching of the Catholic church on the ques- tion of papal authority. But now his grace seeth well enough that all was not gold that glistered, neither all his true subjects that called him lord and master, namely, of Balaam's asses, with the bald crowns. S." The wounded hands and feet of our Saviour are represented on the same side; on the back the The Three Benedictine Abbots. Suddenly the Baga de secretis, which affords infor- mation as to earlier " treasons," fails. At one time he owed him for silks nearly ^800, and a note in the accounts makes it appear probable that this and other debts were set off against Fountains abbey. The sale of the acres obtained for the royal purse a large sum of money, but even this was small when compared with their intrinsic worth, or with what their real value was to the nation at large. Even such a man as Rich, the chancellor of the Court of Augmentation, was not free from suspicion. MS., 152, in the contemporary collections for the lives of Fisher and More. 395 duke of Suffolk, as well as having received money for the sales of lands and lead without accounting for it.* Sir Ralph Sadler, to give but another instance, was gravely compromised in the same way. before the surrender thereof and promised to give to the said Sir Ralph Sadler for a fine for a lease of 21 years ^"100 in money and a horse, which he afterwards did." Sadler took the money and horse and granted the lease before the surrender of the monastery and before obtaining the grant from the king. For a defence of the monks and ecclesiastics against the charge of deceit, and an explanation of the care taken to guard against imposture by the original procurers of the relics of the Passion and the Apostles, see Dixon, " Hist.," VOL. This and all other jewels and plate appertaining to his high- ness, except such as you desire to have for your money " are to be despatched to London.* About the middle of the year 1538 general orders were apparently dispatched to the officers of various counties directing them to repair to the several churches within the limits of their jurisdiction and effect the demolition of every noted shrine. see them safely and surely conveyed unto our Tower of London." Further, they were ordered " to see that both the shrine and the place where it was kept be destroyed even to the ground. Pollard, one of the royal agents, in a letter to Crumwell describes the desecration of St. It was " about three o'clock in the morning," he writes, that " we made an end of the shrine here." The prior and convent " were very conformable," he says, and he was assisted in his work, which lasted on through the night, by " the mayor with eight or nine of his brethren, the bishop's chancellor, Mr. It will be worth the taking down and nothing thereof seen ; but such a piece of work it is, that we think we shall not rid it, doing our best before Monday night or Tuesday morning. 405 the magnificent jewels spoken of by Pollard in his letter. The prior with a white rod pointed out each jewel, telling its name in French, its value, and the name of its donor ; for the principal of them were offerings sent by sovereign princes.


Comments Why Did Henry Close Down The Monasteries Essay

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